Confidence Issues

Asalaam Alaikum/Hi all!

My munchkin seems to have confidence issues and if I am honest, it is beginning to frustrate me. She is 5 and she won’t say hello to anyone, won’t say goodbye and will try to hide behind me if at all possible.

I am beginning to think where did I go wrong? I see other peoples kids of around the same age come up to me and talk to me confidently, or talk to me on the phone. My munchkin will only talk to my sister on the phone and then that is only to ask about the cat and birds. If my sister tries to steer the conversation to something else, munchkin just abruptly walks away from the phone.

She has always been shy from day one. She did not like to go to anyone else but was very close to the rest of the family. (My mum, dad, sis, bro and her cousins). She wasn’t fond of my bro in law but I wasn’t too fussed about that because I didn’t like him either.
At one point it was so bad that she was hiding whenever anyone came round. I had a plumber come round about a year ago. When he had left I was looking for her and she was in her bedroom hiding under the duvet.  Another time I went round to my mothers house after work and she had some friends pop round. Munchkin was hiding under the table.

I must admit she is not that bad now but I am getting paranoid that I have done something to make her so shy. If the doorbell rings she will now come to see who it is and won’t just run off so that is a good sign alhamdulillah.

When going to school her fellow classmates will call her name but she doesn’t want to speak to them. BUT in the classroom she is apparently fine. Is it because I am with her that she won’t speak to them? What have I done that makes her feel that she can’t talk to them in front of me? 

She hasn’t made any special friends but is generally friendly with everyone.

I can find myself getting very annoyed when she won’t say hello. To be honest, I find it embarrassing that my 5 year old won’t talk to anyone. I begin to think that maybe they think I am a bad mum and that has led to my daughter not having much confidence.

I was doing some research on the internet about this issue. Here is some info I found:
All children will go through periods of feeling low in self-esteem which includes lacking in confidence. This can happen as a result of many factors but is mainly due to the lack of affirming, positive feedback from others. Source

Many factors affect the development of self-confidence. Parents’ attitudes are crucial to children’s feelings about themselves, particularly in children’s early years. When parents provide acceptance, children receive a solid foundation for good feelings about themselves. If one or both parents are excessively critical or demanding, or if they are overprotective and discourage moves toward independence, children may come to believe they are incapable, inadequate, or inferior. However, if parents encourage children’s moves toward self-reliance and accept and love their children when they make mistakes, children will learn to accept themselves and will be on their way to developing self-confidence.
Surprisingly, lack of self-confidence is not necessarily related to lack of ability. Instead, it is often the result of focusing too much on the unrealistic expectations or standards of others, especially parents and society. Friends’ influences can be as powerful or more powerful than those of parents and society in shaping feelings about one’s self. Source

This seems to suggest that I have had unrealistic expectations of her which has led to her lack of self confidence. That perhaps I have not been providing her with acceptance. Or maybe I have been over protective??

Have I really led my daughter into not having much self confidence? Or have these articles been written by people who do not have kids and are just talking rubbish? Are some kids just born shy and eventually will grow out of it? Or is it actually parenting gone wrong?

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  • I don't think it is parenting gone wrong. My son is the same way, I was too. I think for him it is partly because he has no brothers/sisters and he doesn't see his cousins very often.

    I was an incredibly shy child, always off alone because I didn't want to play with other kids. I am still sometimes a bit shy around new people, but I have grown out of it mostly and now talk too much!

    A lot of child rearing articles are just rubbish. All children have different personalities, and you know what is best for yours.

  • Hey Assalamu Alaikum!
    Firstly let me thank you for visiting my blog and following :).

    Now to the post. Well I'm not yet a parent, and don't think I'll ever be a mother. 😎 Being a guy I think a father is more appropriate.

    When I was younger I went through the same phase as your daughter and there is some truth in 'positive feedback'. If a child tries something and their effort is not appreciated, even if they do not do well, then it is quite disheartening. It may be that this particular thing is not the cause of your daughter's shyness, and it may just a phase that will pass.

    I also agree with Aishah above said, that every child is different, and has their own ways of doing things, their own personalities etc.

    Take care.
    (lol, I don't know whether to call you aunty or sis :P)

  • I think some children are shy – part of their character. Nothing wrong with you, you're a loving mother.
    I was a very shy girl, not mixing with others, not talking much to adults, I liked being on my own and still do.
    I have changed, growing up. I don't think it has to do much with confidence either. I just have a calm disposition I assume and that's fine.

  • Thank you for your comment Aisha. My munchkin is an only child aswell; she only sees her cousins every other weekend. Others have also said to me it may be because she is an only child.

    Wa alaikum asalaam Nas. Thank you too for visiting and following! I was thinking about it and realised that I as a child was very shy too and my parents rarely gave positive feedback. I do my best to make sure I do not treat my daughter that way but maybe it has rubbed off a bit on her without me realising. I have noticed that the rest of the family can be a bit critical so that may be impacting her.
    ( I think I still come under sister rather than Aunty! I am not THAT old yet lol – my eldest nephew is 16)

    Thank you Marie for saying I am a loving mother. Part of me thinks that because she is an only child she prefers to be on her own. Thinking about it she does like to go off in her room and play alone alot

  • I don't think you have done anything wrong in the way you have brought up your daughter. Some children (and people) are naturally shy.
    Also, the fact that she seems to be shyer around you than say, her classroom, may be because she has such a strong bond with you that she doesn't want this interrupted by talking to 'outsiders'.
    My daughter is nearly three and although very outspoken, she shows shyness in her own way by telling ME not to talk / interact with people when we go out.
    I think it is a childs way of keeping close to those they love??

  • Thanks for your comment Fro'Fashion Fairy. I hadn't thought of it in that way, it's given me something to think about.

    I guess it COULD be a way of keeping close?

  • I was the opposite! As a child I would talk to anyone, and now I hide from the doorbell and the phone, especially if I'm unsure on who it is.

  • Assalamu Aleykum sister,

    I also think the only child factor plays a role in her shyness.I guess that children who have a lot of brothers and sisters just learn how to speak up for themselves, as parents are not able to give them full attention and individual care at all time.
    Alhamdulillah it seems she's gaining confidence.Try to encourage her to do things by herself (putting her clothes and shoes on, helpng a bit with slight household duties such as putting plates on tables…), she might gain self esteem and self confidence as she will realise she can succeed in many things InshALLAH.

  • Asalaamu alaikum sister,
    I think the article is quite accurate but that doesnt mean to say that you have failed in some way. Could you sit down with your daughter at a time when you wont get interrupted and discuss it with her? She isnt too young to try to figure out why she feels shy around others. Insha'Allah it is just a phase, try not to worry too much about it at the moment.
    And im finally 'following' you – i stopped following blogs as i got overwhelmed by it all but im showing my appreciation again and following my favorites.
    Aqeela xx

  • Sarah: seriously? You hide now?

    Wa alaikum asalaam dear um Zakarya. Yes it could be. With munchkin being the only child she does not want for anything alhamdulillah so I couldnt understand it. She does tend to dress herself but I will get her to help more with the household chores. She does love to garden with me and will help if she can

    Aqeela: Wa alaikum asalaam. I have tried to speak to her and she just says 'I dont know'. So I cant try to fix it if she can't explain it herself. Thank you for following me again! 🙂 xx